Top Reasons to Visit Dominica
Dominica (pronounced Dom-in-EEK-a, and not to be confused with the Dominican Republic), is a spectacular green island of rugged mountains, lush rainforests and rushing rivers in the Eastern Caribbean.
The island is a haven for adventure travelers seeking a unique vacation that includes: hiking and adventure, cultural events/festivals, diving and water sports, whale/dolphin watching and canyoning adventures.
To help you plan your next vacation, here are some of the top reasons to visit Dominica:
- Dominica is rated as one of the top 10 dive locations in the world. Scuba divers can choose from a variety of dive sites that feature dramatic walls and pinnacles, pristine reefs, and amazing creatures. Although diving is a year-round activity on the island, Dive Fest is held in early July each year (July 8-18, 2016). Dive Fest educates both novices and experienced divers about the sport of scuba diving and helps raise awareness aboutDominica’s stunning and unique marine environment.
- Dominica is the only Caribbean destination with a walking trail that extends the length of the island. The Waitukubuli National Trail – named after the Carib Indian name for Dominica – is 115 miles long and is divided into 14 contiguous segments that can take an experienced hiker nearly two weeks to complete in its entirety. The trail leads visitors into the heart of local communities while passing through mountainous landscapes and rainforests, and past rivers and waterfalls. Each May, Hike Fest celebrates the Nature Island’s best hiking venues, including the Waitukubuli National Trail. The Nature Island Challenge, an adventure-hiking challenge that will cover more than 50 miles along the trail, is scheduled for April 2016.
- Dominica is known as the Whale Watching Capital of the Caribbean and is the only country in the world where sperm whales reside year-round. Dominica is home to at least 20 species of whales and dolphins, including humpback whales, pilot whales and the spotted dolphin. The island’s sheer walls disappear under the sea to create deep, sheltered bays along the western coastline and form a haven for whales and dolphins within five miles of the West Coast.
- The Morne Trois Pitons National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) has nearly 300 miles of footpaths, countless streams and waterfalls, and a well-established national park system to make for some of the Caribbean’s most spectacular and enjoyable adventures. The park is an area of significant volcanic activity, which includes the Valley of Desolation, a region of boiling mud ponds and small geysers, the Boiling Lake; Titou Gorge; and Emerald Pool.
- Dominica offers a variety of activities for watersports enthusiasts. Adventuresome visitors can kayak on cool mountain lakes, swim in secluded river pools, tube down the river into the calm waters on the West Coast, or snorkel on pristine reefs. The island’s abundance of fresh flowing water is fed by up to 300 inches of rainfall annually to give credence to the legend of its 365 rivers.
- For visitors with a passion for flora and fauna, the island is home to more than 170 bird species, more than 1,000 species of flowering plants, 74 identified species of orchids and 200 types of ferns. Two endemic Amazon parrots – the Sisserou and Red-necked Jaco – are often spotted during a hike through the lush landscape. Dominica is also home to several small creatures including the crapaud (frog), the agouti and the manicou.
- The World Creole Music Festival attracts some of the most renowned musical groups and soloists from the Creole-speaking world to Dominica. The festival is seen as one of the only truly indigenous music events in Dominica and the Eastern Caribbean. Dominica’s 19th World Creole Music Festival is scheduled for 28-30, 2016.
- Creole food is the island specialty, featuring fresh tropical fruits and vegetables, local fish, island herbs and spices. Dishes are spicy, but not flaming hot. Dominica’s restaurants serve an eclectic menu of continental and West Indian dishes served with a backdrop of captivating panoramas of the island’s unmatched natural beauty.
- Visitors can tour a model Kalinago village at the Kalinago Barana Aute. The Kalinago Indians are the last indigenous people of the Caribbean. Kalinago Barana Aute provides a unique experience to learn about and appreciate the customs, practices and heritage of the Kalinago (Carib) people. The Kalinago Territory Home Stay Program enables visitors to experience the rich and unique heritage of Dominica’s first settlers firsthand. Visitors experience an herbal medicine garden, hiking trails, scenic view points, the Crayfish River and Isulukati Falls. Kalingo artisans display their talents for canoe building, weaving baskets and creating authentic crafts.
- Carnival –– or “The Real Mas” –– is the most festive season in Dominica. Carnival is highlighted by a kaleidoscope of colors, a street parade and an exciting and entertaining street dance known as jump-up. The pre-Lenten festival, with a rich history dating back thousands of years, is one of the most anticipated celebrations on the island and one that visitors won’t want to miss! (Feb. 8-9, 2016)